Bob Woodward defends his reporting on the White House against a Laura Bush smear, essentially calling the first lady’s honesty into question.
QUOTING LAURA BUSH: Andy Card also went on television and said that’s not true. And let me just say the one thing about that book: Those quote of mine, were in quotes, and the author didn’t call me and fact check. And it just didn’t happen.
KURTZ: Your response?
WOODWARD: Well, first of all, Andy Card, as you know, has gone on television and said the quotes are accurate. And that they did happen. And the first lady is saying that what she said and—again, there is a way, and a habit they have in the White House of you write something and then they kind of pick it up one step, then they deny the version that they say you wrote.
[...]Well, what I wrote in the book is that Laura Bush was concerned about Rumsfeld, and concerned that he might be hurting her husband. You only have to live in the United States of America to know that’s a possibility. It’s not surprising that she would have some concern.
I did not say and did not report in the book that she favored the ouster of Rumsfeld. The White House then takes that and says, the book says she favored the ouster of Rumsfeld. And then they deny that. It’s—but, you know—Card is not…
KURTZ: That’s something you say you didn’t report.
WOODWARD: That’s right. It’s not an unusual technique. But Card repeatedly has said publicly that the quotes are accurate.
KURTZ: Critics of the president, as you know, said that in their view you were too soft on the administration in your previous two books and now you’ve finally come around. And you were in a state of denial about administration incompetence.
WOODWARD: Well, they haven’t read the books, the first two books. The first book showed how Rumsfeld had no plan for the Afghan war. The second book, as I recall, “The New York Times” did two front page stories on “Plan of Attack,” saying that the book jolted the White House because it exposed the rift between Colin Powell and Cheney and other things. Certainly the White House is not going to embrace something that necessarily jolts the White House.